Discourse Patterns In Why/AutoTutor

Eric C. Mathews, G. Tanner Jackson, Arthur C. Graesser, Natalie K. Person, and the Tutoring Research Group

The interfaces of knowledge management systems will benefit from conversational agents, particularly for users who infrequently use such systems. The design of such agents will presumably share some of the dialog management facilities for systems designed for tutoring. For example, Why/AutoTutor is an automated physics tutor that engages students in conversation by simulating the discourse patterns and pedagogical dialog moves of human tutors. This paper describes how the Why/AutoTutor creates original dialog pathways for the learner. The system chains dialog moves, expressions, and discourse markers to simulate the dialog moves of natural human tutors while still controlling the conversational floor and the learning of the student.

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